Shout Out To My Fellow Fans!

Last week, upon spotting it at the Trinoma branch of Planet X, I made an impromptu purchase of this item:
Avengers: Official Index to the Marvel Universe
I didn't know it existed nor did I know what was in its pages, but reading the description at the back of the book, I figured it's an important tome for any fan to have.

Which brings me to the point of this week's blog:
I. Am. An. Avengers. Fan.
A big fan!
In fact, probably the ultimate Avengers fan... here in the Philippines at least.

I know only one other person who shares my love for the Avengers and that's my friend Oliver.
Check out his awesome work of art featuring... who else?
Check out Oliver's DeviantArt!
Oli's also a big fan of other comic book titles and characters from Marvel, DC, and even the independent rebels. Meanwhile I can't be bothered to read or care about other characters, which I guess makes me an exclusive Avengers fan boy!
Thing is: I know people who are exclusive fans of Superman, Batman, Spider-man, the X-men, etc. I even know people who are fans of Cap, Iron Man, Thor, and all the individual heroes who make up the Avengers.

But there just aren't that many fans of the team.

Photo from cosplay group Avengers Philippines
Sure, there are the Avengers cosplayers and the collectors (neither of which I am). Sure, there are even those who buy the comics because they're either blown away by Bendis' writing or because Spidey and/or Wolvie also just happen to be there.

This is what I do as a fan! I create!
Check back my deviantart for more!
And because there aren't that many fans here or even around the world, I would take any chance I can get to really reach out and connect with those I encounter.

Avengers vs. X-men cosplayers. Photo by Kit Perez.
Thankfully, there's the Avengers Forever Facebook group, which was set up and managed by the same people behind the now-defunct AvengersForever.org (which was a nice fan-run website that had great sections like profiles, downloadable goodies, interviews, reviews, etc).
Oliver is also a member along with a couple of our fellow Filipino fans who are based overseas.

Speaking as a fan, I'm not really happy with these licensed apparel designs
I spotted at SM Department Store.
Also a member of the group is Van Plexico himself who is the owner of possibly the oldest Avengers fan-site: AvengersAssembled.net. That's where I used to get all the news and information about the Avengers back when I started being a fan. He's also the editor of two books about the Avengers by fans for the fans (which is to say, they were unofficial):
I have yet to get my copy!
And of course, thanks to the movie, there are the denizens of Tumblr who claim that they're fans of the Avengers. I hope they remain fans until after the movie and explore the rest of the Avengers' world!

Outdated photo of my Avengers collection back in 2007.
This has since grown and is bound to grow even more!
So if you're reading this blog and you're a fan of the Avengers regardless if you're exclusive or if you only got excited because of the movie, and regardless if you're a Filipino, in the Philippines, or what have you, let me know!

Leave a comment below and let's talk Avengers!



Of the Widow and the Wasp

It's officially 65 days until the movie hits local shores. That's just a little more than two months away and I have to fill that time up with this weekly blog about anything and everything Avengers.
For this week's edition, I wanna tackle these two Avenging ladies.
One is a founding member. The other is in the movie.

From Black Widow and the Marvel Girls
Both are insect-themed heroes created by the man himself: Stan Lee.
Both debuted during the opening salvo that heralded the age of Marvels.
Of course I can just as easily be describing Marvel's flagship character, but what I've come to realize recently is that these two ladies occupied a certain niche position that Marvel didn't define for their first few female characters like Susan Storm or Jean Grey. Rather, their roles in the grand scheme of things were originally set by DC, not necessarily for female characters, and that's what makes them interesting.

First let's look at the Wasp.

From United They Stand
Sure, just like the two previously mentioned ladies above, she's the token founding female of the Avengers, but prior to that she was Ant-man's partner - in more ways than one.
Sure, she debuted as a heroine, but not in the way that Marvel, at the time, placed them: As the doting, more powerful paramour of the leader in a team.

Figures from the Toy Biz original Avengers boxed set
Rather, she performed the role of sidekick, distaff counterpart, and even romantic interest - tropes roles that DC markedly defined with Robin, Batgirl/Supergirl, and Lois Lane.
And Janet Van Dyne had to be all that for Hank Pym.

Now let's look at the Black Widow.

From Earth's Mightiest Heroes
She's only the third female recruit to the Avengers' rank whose career started off as a villainess to Iron Man. It would be easy to make the Catwoman connection at this point, but it's her role as Hawkeye's recruiter that makes her a curious case.

From the upcoming movie
She was the alpha female (Again, a rare occurrence among Marvel ladies at the time) - a mysterious, non-powered but lethal one at that - who went after an enemy with superior weaponry and took in an orphan from a circus.
Sound familiar?
In this light, all the roles that the Wasp played for Ant-man fall on Hawkeye.

From Ultimate Avengers

As for the Scarlet Witch, well, her character development is very Marvel. Just like the Invisible Woman and Phoenix, she was the all-powerful token female member, beginning with the villainous Brotherhood, then with the second wave of Avengers along with Hawkeye and Captain America. In both instances, her twin brother Quicksilver was with her. He may not be the leader of either groups nor her paramour, but he still fits the role of overly protective male like a glove.

The first three lady Avengers!
Feel free to comment below.

For a related entry, please check out my post in my previous blog where I argue that the Invisible Woman is possibly Marvel's Wonder Woman.


My Issues with the Avengers

A few days ago I thought I'd blog about the Avengers vs. Justice League debate, but I had completely forgotten the meat of it, so I thought I'd share something else.
I thought about blogging why I have a particular distaste for the Skrulls and why I keep hammering that they're NOT GONNA BE IN THE MOVIE, but I think one Skrull-related rant for this week is enough.

So I thought I'd share something else a bit more positive. (And you thought I was gonna rant, didn't you?)
I was thinking a while back how certain issues of the comic certainly fell on very important dates in my life.

One in particular was released before I was a fan, before I even discovered the Avengers, before I even took any interest in comics and superheroes, in fact: Before I was even born!
Avengers Annual 10 (1981)
Yep, it's the annual of my birth year, released just a few months before I was born. I don't have a physical copy of this issue, but I have read it and it's a great issue to be sure! Guest stars abound, the storytelling is topnotch (Chris Claremont baby!), and Al Milgrom's art has a tinge of George Perez (my fave Avengers artist)!

More importantly: a) this was the very first appearance of Rogue who was my favorite X-men; b) this had a story centered around Ms. Marvel - one of my favorite Avengers; c) this featured a guest appearance by another favorite: Spider-woman!

I've said it once before, but if I only get to own one issue to keep forever, it would be this!

Another important issue, of course, is the one that made me a big fan.

Avengers Vol. 3 No. 34
I was turning 19, I had just finished taking a quarterly high school exam, and I had money. What's a geek boy to do? Go to the mall and check out comics (and - ugh - watch Battlefield Earth). I was getting pretty bored with the X-men at the time and wanted to check out something new and I remembered the Avengers/Thunderbolts were having a crossover at the time, so I thought I'd check that out.

It took the very first panel to convince me that I dare not leave Filbar's without this issue.

"It all started--" said the text box. How very true for me!
Sadly it was Perez's last issue and I debated with myself for a while if I wanted to follow the series considering it's the art that got me hooked in the first place. We all know how well that turned up, don't we?

One of my stipulations at the time was that writer Kurt Busiek was still with the series so it's bound to be good - AND IT WAS - but even he had to say goodbye.

Avengers Vol. 3 No. 56
But not without leaving something for me.
(Click to enlarge. Look for the letter by "Nicky Aniceto".)

Yes, I had used a different name. I don't remember what I was angry at my mom's side of the family about, but I was convinced I was going to use my dad's last name forever.

And, of course, the best thing the folks at Marvel ever did for me as a fan was printing another letter I sent on an issue that came out exactly on my birth month, exactly 10 years since I first picked up an issue!

Avengers Academy No. 5
As fate would have it, Academy is the only one of all the current titles with a letters page! This issue is cover dated Dec. 2010, but it came out two months earlier - just in time to celebrate my birthday!
Click to enlarge. Yes, I used my real name this time.)
Except for the last issue, everything else are just brilliant coincidences, but they do make me feel happy - nay, GIDDY - as a fan!

You know what else is a cool coincidence? They released the official trailer to the movie just a few days before my birthday last year!

So, if any of you guys reading this are fans, tell me: Which issues of your favorite book are really important to you?


Maximum Spoilage

Right now it's Superbowl weekend in the US.
Unfortunately I'm not in the US nor am I a fan of football (or any sport for that matter).
So what this really means for me or anyone who is a big fan of the Avengers is that we get a new trailer for the upcoming movie.
Seeing as this is just a 30-second spot, I don't expect surprisingly new footage.

Which brings me to the point of this new entry:  I want to be surprised.

Why is Thor looking another way?!
From Entertainment Weekly.
Just a few days ago, Marvel released a 10-second preview of the Superbowl spot, which totally did not make sense to me. That's 10 out of 30 seconds worth of footage, and judging from the glimpses of screen shots I unfortunately couldn't avoid, most of it is new. That means the next 20 seconds of the spot would have to be really new, never-before-seen, heard or even speculated on. And that's already a tall order considering the previously released full trailer in its American, German, and Russian translations already contain different sets of footage.

For this reason, I chose not to watch the preview and will patiently wait until the whole spot is uploaded on YouTube or something. Call it lowering my expectations so I don't end up disappointed, but I really just want to be blown away by the experience.

Seriously, Thor. Is this highlighting your good side?
From Empire Magazine.
Because that's exactly what happened with the previous Marvel movies leading up to the big one. Aside from casting news, I had no prior inkling as to what to expect from the movies. I didn't see any of those movies' concept art, official behind-the-scenes pics, leaked photos from spectators on set, not even the publicity shoots for magazines. That's probably one of the reasons I enjoyed those movies. For example, this guy's cameo in this movie came as a total shock to me but was apparently reported earlier on.

As far as THE MOVIE is concerned, I don't mind the concept art or the mag shoots, but I do draw the line at the on-set photos, regardless if they're official or not. Why? Because I'd rather keep the magic and the surprise alive. I want to see the film and never think "Hey! I saw how they did that!"

In live action!
I guess I'm just wary because the trailer they released last year left me a little underwhelmed as I have already seen much of the footage thanks to the barrage of leaked and official photos from the Cleveland and New York shooting. BTW, The fact that I know their shooting locations is disturbing me to no end.

I don't know if all these publicity stunts is Marvel Studios' way of making sure interest in the movie remains hot considering they've done a successful job of keeping a tight lid on everything else, but I'm still not buying. I want to be shocked, awed, and blown outta my wits when I leave that movie theater. So I'm keeping myself free of previews, spoilers, and even speculations.

Concept art featuring the team, the Quinjet, and Stark Tower!
That's not gonna be easy considering:
a) I need to be kept abreast of promo art as well as new merchandise; and
b) I'm using my Tumblr to share news about anything and everything Avengers. Unfortunately I'm not the only one who's posting Avengers-related content.

If you haven't already, check out this hilariously impressive DIY take on the Avengers trailer!

UPDATE (Feb. 6): The extended Superbowl spot (1 MINUTE LONG AND ALL NEW FOOTAGE) is here and it blew me away! Success!